Many refugees arriving in Hong Kong have fled from their homes as a result of war, violence or persecution. There are approximately 13,000 asylum seekers in Hong Kong, often waiting for as long as 15-20 years for the results of their appeals.
Law for Change Incubation programmes have blossomed in recent years, supporting myriads of passionate young people to generate social impact innovations. It is encouraging to see growing interests towards certain social topics but some topics seem to remain remote to young change-makers. “Access to legal support” is one of the examples.
Age-related declines in capabilities may compromise older people’s ability to respond to health and safety hazards in home environment, causing increased risk of home injuries and threatening ageing-in-place. Recognising the growing demand for more personalised and preventive home support, ZeShan Foundation rolled out a new partnership with Habitat for Humanity Hong Kong
First Knowledge Hub For Active Ageing
Environmental protection has been higher on public agenda in Hong Kong. It is exciting to see more information exchanges and community campaigns on pressing issues like greenhouse gases, wastes and habitat degradation. But what about air pollution?
Compared to the extreme hot days, odor nuisances or loss of endangered species, smog might seem to be a less worrying phenomenon. Air pollution, however, can be harming our health at different stages slowly yet severely. Air pollution deserves our attention.
Sharing the same mission that we need more conversations and actions on air pollution, ZeShan Foundation has collaborated with Clean Air Networks (“CAN”) in 2022 to carry out a 2-year school-based project on air monitoring and education. The pilot will support 8 primary and secondary schools in Sham Shui Po and Tuen Mun to gather real-time data on air quality via monitor installation. This is one of our first attempts to develop more community-led initiatives to address our environmental issues. With the available data and technical support from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the participating school management, teaching staff and students will be guided by CAN to develop and test out their adaptation measures to address air pollution in schools.
Sowing the seeds of raising awareness and knowledge, ZeShan hopes to see more behavioral changes around air pollution on a school level, and ultimately a cleaner and healthier learning environment for nurturing young minds.
Assistant Program Manager
In disaster management, the framework of participatory capacities and vulnerabilities analysis (namely “PCVA”) has been widely adopted for needs assessment over the past three decades in different countries. This lens was also referenced by ZeShan team to understand not only the impact of the ongoing 5th wave of COVID pandemic on vulnerable people but also the systemic drivers behind such impact. These often touch upon issues related to social inclusion, public governance, health equity, equal access to public resources and even policy issues.
PCVA is rooted in two proven social development methodologies. First, of course, it stems from the traditional tool of CVA which enables frontline workers to design and plan relief projects, based on capacities and vulnerabilities of a community. It recognizes vulnerable people have capacities to cope with adversity and can take actions to improve and rebuild their lives, before, during and/or after a disaster. Second, PCVA has originated from the belief that empowering communities to participate in program design, planning and/or management would lead to increased ownership, accountability, and impact. This is therefore the best way to bring about recovery or even changes.
This framework indeed aligns very much with ZeShan’s core approach of community empowerment in all program planning. We believe, in every community, people have resources and capacities, but often unnoticed and then under-utilized. In the process of disaster relief and recovery, it is therefore very important to identify these resources and capacities, and then empower people at all levels, including the so-called victims. This process is always a more sustainable way to help people help themselves and others, and rebuild their own life and community.
In the past three months, through this lens, we discussed with peer foundations, project partners and people in Hong Kong. We have identified the pressing needs of the most vulnerable ones as well as some of their precious but unnoticed resources and capacities. With more than 10 new relief grants, ZeShan has focused on those marginalized or excluded under the existing policy frameworks and mainstream service provision or subsidy schemes. These include grassroots families, ethnic minorities, refugees and asylum seekers, small businesses and social enterprises struggling with unsold food stock and poor cashflows. Designing each of our relief programs, we have tried hard to mobilize their own untapped labour and unused materials inside our hard-hit communities, with a view to preparing themselves better and stronger in the forthcoming process of economic recovery.
For a charitable foundation, we consider it not difficult to hand out materials to the needy. We are therefore trying hard to be more forward looking. At this current relief stage, whenever possible, a more empowering process was consciously designed and executed in our relief projects. For we believe, this will be a more effective and sustainable way to help them rebuild their own communities at the next rehabilitation phase.
Our recent relief grants:
|Chow Tai Fook Charity Foundation||Wu Wu Cheng” Community Mutual Support Initiative”|
|Fullness Social Enterprises Society Limited||Love Our Neighbour|
|Dialogue in the Dark (HK) Foundation
||WeCare (Emergent Emotional Support for Vulnerable Elderly)|
|Health In Action||Emergency Relief to Cleaners and Deprived Families Working and/or Living in Kwai Chung|
|Run Hong Kong||Covid Relief – Health and Essential Services
Covid Relief – Psychological Support
|Christian Action – Centre for Refugees||COVID-19 Fifth Wave Emergency Distribution|
|United Christian Nethersole Community Health Service||COVID-19 Care for Ethnic Minorities|
|The Neighbourhood Advice-Action Council||Friendly Food Support Scheme|
|Hong Kong Unison||5th Wave (COVID-19) Ethnic Minority Emergency Relief Project|
In recent years, a growing number of recycling stations has been noticed in many urban communities, housing unwanted household items. Recyclables in the rural side, however, do not share the same story – valuable recyclables are often turned into mismanaged waste or even pollution menace, where recycling facilities or services are lacked or limited.
Hoping to change the narrative in the rural setting, ZeShan Foundation has partnered with A Plastic Ocean Foundation (“APO”) to develop a community-led waste management model in rural villages. In this one-year pilot project, two cohorts of passionate young adults will be equipped with professional training on recycling operation. Guided by APO’s recycling partners, the trained green collars will then take the lead on running a series of community recycling drives for people residing in villages located in the New Territories West. These range from collecting household plastic waste to processing them into quality recycling materials that can be repurposed for a second life.
Through mainstreaming the green practices in rural neighbourhood and cultivating a pool of green talents, ZeShan hopes to test and demonstrate this alternative model in strategically addressing the growing waste problem and rivitalising the recycling industry in Hong Kong.
Assistant Program Manager
APO’s Education Team is introducing rural green facility and the natural habitats of Ha Tsuen to university students
APO’s Education Team has been invited to offer a career talk on Green Opportunity and Employment for IVE (Shatin)
APO’s Education Team’s mobile clean recycling station where our officer is introducing the concept of clean recycling to rural residents